TV Review: DEAD OF SUMMER – Episode 2 “Barney Rubble Eyes”

DOSposterI’ve been seeing ads for DEAD OF SUMMER everywhere. I went to the theater four times in the last two weeks and saw at least two advertisements before my movies. Freeform is sparing no expense with their genre offering, hoping to transition the previously known as ABC Family network into must see TV. Their most popular show PRETTY LITTLE LIARS is a pop culture phenomenon and has lasted several years, creating stars out of their cast. Judging from the second episode of DEAD OF SUMMER, it’s unclear as to what kind of audience it’s trying to draw in. It manages to make drug abuse and Satanic worship look squeaky clean with no glimpses of creative risk taking in the near future. However clean it may be, the show is still a bit too weird and uneventful to draw casual young adults

 

Barney Rubble Eyes” spends most of the time following counselor, Alex, and his family’s immigrant journey in pursuing the American Dream. Someone makes a rude remark to Alex about his name and it’s apparently so life changing that he now grabs whatever he wants no matter who gets hurt. As he gets a job dry cleaning, he witnesses his boss cheating on his wife and uses this as extortion to look like the image of success. This backstory is as boring as it sounds and really served no purpose but to fill out the 45 minute time slot. If anything, he has become more of a bland character and definitely one of the least interesting storylines the show has going on.

 

His immigrant past is what connects him to a strange boy who is one of many of the new kids who have arrived at camp. The boy, Anton, is found talking to himself and manages to separate himself from the other campers and paint creepy pictures. Did I mention he claims to be talking to an imaginary friend he calls The Tall Man? Did I mention The Tall Man is our piano playing ghost played by Tony Todd?

 

Alex plants acid in a fellow camper’s drink, resulting in hallucinations and the eventual uncovering of The Tall Man’s remains in the woods. This spot happens to be in one of Anton’s paintings as he’s become some sort of messenger with vague warnings I’m sure no one will take seriously. His remains are stolen by the textbook local Satan worshippers whose intentions are left a mystery by the end of the episode.

 

DEAD OF SUMMER definitely has its scary moments, but they are simply moments. The overall story isn’t as engaging as it should be. The counselors blend together and I find it difficult to differentiate who is who. Even with several flashbacks, Alex still comes off as one dimensional and the real focus should be on the history of the campground and all the supernatural occurrences. The show is supposedly going to be 10 episodes a season and I hope to see the story get fleshed out appropriately and possibly just having some beginner’s nerves. I’m crossing my fingers that it ends up like the SCREAM TV series which started off with eye rolling references, but became riveting television. There’s enough going on to explore some more DEAD OF SUMMER, but I’m struggling to recommend it to someone who already has plenty of options to choose from on Netflix.

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